Richard Romano: Hi, this is Richard Romano, and I am Managing Editor of WhatTheyThink Going Green Blog. And we’re here in Atlanta, Georgia for the Third Annual Environmental Innovation Awards. And we’re talking with Holly Patrick, who is the Product Manager for Patient News, this year’s winner in sustainability and your community. So first of all, congratulations...
Holly Patrick: Thank you very much.
Richard: Now, you’re no stranger to this work, this is the third time in a row that you’ve won this award.
Holly: Yes it is. We’re extremely excited to be here today.
Richard: You are obviously doing a lot of thing right. Can you just tell us a little bit about the company? Where you are based? What is it that you do and that sort of thing?
Holly: Our company, Patient News, is based in Halliburton, Ontario. We’re about three hours north of Toronto. And we’re a marketing company, solutions provider for primarily dentists across North America.
Richard: So now the hallmark of your sustainability initiatives is what you’re calling the scrap program, so tell us a little bit about the scrap program.
Holly: Our sustainability program is comprised of volunteer members of our company; approximately 16 percent of our company is involved in this program. We allow time on work hours to fulfill a lot of the projects that are put forth to senior management for approval. They can range anywhere from reforestation, the UN Billion Tree Initiative, right down to biodegradable utensils in our kitchens for our company lunches. So right across the board, recycling programs, writing, anything that involves cutting back anywhere in our business, in our community, all the way through our community and engaging our community on sustainability efforts as well.
Richard: Now part of that Billion Tree Program, how many trees did you guys plant?
Holly: In the last couple of years, we’ve done 4,200, sorry, last year was 4,200 and this year in fact it was 5,000.
Richard: That’s a lot of trees. So this award is obviously about reaching out to the community beyond the walls of the company. Did you find it initially that it was a struggle to get people involved who weren’t employees of Patient News or was it a fairly receptive community that you were approaching?
Holly: It is a receptive community. Our village is… has a lot of arts communities, a lot of businesses are involved in their own initiatives. So to invite and engage these people is a natural step in our business.
Richard: So even the business community itself was fairly receptive in working with you guys.
Richard: Not as a generalization, of course, but it seems that a lot of companies sort of tend not to involve themselves in the larger community. What advice would you give to printing companies, publishing companies, marketing services providers, who are interested in are interested in sort of reaching out to what may be kind of a not particularly environmental friendly community?
Holly: I think what I would say is just not to assume that your community isn’t open to these ideas. When you start talking to people, you are going to find engagement, you are going to find people who are interested in it, asking questions and if you ask them to discuss it in their groups and in their communities, it does go… you can reach a very wide audience who will respond.
Richard: So what are some of the benefits to Patient News itself that have come out of these initiatives?
Holly: Well, there, of course, is the recognition for sustainability. We really do listen to our clients and what they need. And not only in the obvious things that they demand from our company, the ROI, the on budget, on time delivery of the marketing programs, the fast turnaround in giving them information and the information that they need to successfully fulfill their programs. Further to that, one of our core values is business with honesty and integrity and we strongly feel that the environmental initiatives that we take do reflect our integrity as a company who feels that sustainability is very important to us and to our clients.
Richard: So now, your clients, is there something that has been driven internally or was this something that certain clients were demanding and that’s how you sort of got involved in sort of the environment… the sustainability initiatives?
Holly: Initially, it was internal. And just by, of course speaking about our initiatives on our website, on different social media lately, we start hearing back and getting responses from our clients. So then of course, it is give and take.
Richard: So you use social media and your website, do you use any other media to communicate your sustainability to potential or present customers?
Holly: Other than… well, of course, Press Releases, media, we use our Facebook, we use our Twitter, we use our Quarterly Newsletters to our clients, our marketing programs to perspective clients as well.
Richard: Great. Well thank you very much and congratulations again.
Holly: Thank you very much.